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Model releases

Find out about the permissions you need to depict people in your stock assets. 

What’s a model release, and when do you need one? 

Whether your images show professional models, friends and family, or any other identifiable people, you need their permission before you submit the images to Adobe Stock. Your photo subjects give you their permission by signing a model release.

A model release is a written agreement between you and a person depicted in your image. By signing a model release, that person gives you (and other authorized users, like Adobe Stock customers) permission to publish the image or use it for commercial purposes.

Still not sure if you need a model release? Ask yourself: “Would the people in my photo recognize themselves?” If your answer is “Yes,” then you need one. Keep in mind that recognition can be based on just about anything, including personal characteristics like tattoos and birthmarks as well as external factors in the photo like other recognizable people, unique clothing, equipment, or location. That’s why it’s always safer to get a model release, even for a close-up shot of a body part. 

Here are a few examples of submissions that need model releases:

  • A photo that includes a t-shirt with a face printed on it, that shows or a person’s portrait on a wall
  • Illustrations or vector artwork based on real people or body parts
  • Videos that show people passing by in the background
  • Videos that include voices — you’ll need a model release for the speaker
  • Self-portraits — you’ll need to sign the release as both the photographer and the model
  • Photos that depict nudity, even if the subject isn’t recognizable — and don’t forget to include a copy of the subject’s photo ID to verify age 

Here are images that need model releases:

And here are images that don’t need model releases: 

Get a model release form and checklist.

You can get a model release template from Adobe Stock, but we also accept release forms from other sources as long as they’re filled out correctly and are substantially similar to our release form.

You can download the release form directly from this user guide or on the Contributor portal, or you can use Adobe Acrobat Sign to route it for electronic signature on the portal — no need to download software to make it work. Learn more

Here’s what you’ll see in the Contributor portal: 

Before you upload your release, you can download our detailed checklist to confirm that you've included all the information we need. Here are the key requirements for model releases:

  • To assure legibility, print all names in CAPITAL LETTERS 
  • The name of the photographer needs to be the same as the Adobe Stock account holder name.
  • Companies and agencies may submit content created by different photographers and filmmakers. 
  • If the model was and still is under 18 years of age when you photographed them, you need to get the signature of their parent/legal guardian. Try to get both parents to sign the release — one as the parent or legal guardian and the other as the witness. This reduces the risk that one parent will try to revoke the consent given by the other.
  • If you’re a parent photographing or filming your child, you need to print your name and sign twice — once as the artist and once as the parent. 
  • When photographing or filming a group, you need the names and signatures of each person on a separate release. For example, if you photograph or film the football team, the coach can’t sign for the whole group.
  • The witness can’t be the model or the photographer. We don’t require a signature from a witness if the model is 18 years old or older.
  • All signatures must be dated. If a witness signs the release, the date of signature for the witness and the model must match.
  • The moderators can’t accept a release that appears stitched together digitally.
  • Model releases need to be submitted as JPEGs and titles should be fewer than 30 characters long.

Optional, but recommended: 

  • Ethnicity of the model
  • Information about the date and location of the recording session (some customers require this information in order to use an asset)
  • Visual reference image of the model — required if you use the Acrobat Sign feature to collect electronic signatures.

We accept model releases in many languages, as long as the form is an approved one, including:

Adobe Artists: Nunez Image - Stocksy | 420686038, DisobeyArt | 301125797, | 339764573, Tom Wagner | 329823628Austockphoto | 441093973, Pansfun Images - Stocksy | 344967582

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